A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

Rules being developed for liquor licenses on reservation

Aug 25, 2013 - By Eric Blom Staff Writer

Tribal and county governments are developing a memorandum of understanding about granting liquor licenses to businesses on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The governing bodies already are working under the agreement spelled out in the document, said Fremont County Commission chairman Doug Thompson.

If a business that is within the exterior boundaries of the reservation and located south of the Wind River applies for a liquor license, it must first submit an application to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. If they approve the permit, the business has to apply for a Fremont County license as well.

"I don't think it'll change anything, it just puts it down on paper," Thompson said. "Alcohol is a problem throughout our county; (the MOU) just allows the governing bodies to say where it is."

The tribes and county have a difference of opinion regarding land within the reservation that is north of the Wind River.

"(This is) not an agreement on what happens north of the river," Thompson said. "I don't think we want to get into that big jurisdiction battle with the tribes."

Thompson said the MOU arose out of a meeting between county and tribal attorneys addressing a number of issues. It also is timely because the county has received several requests for liquor licenses that would be covered by the MOU.

But Thompson said a recently denied application from a business in that region did not drive the MOU's development.

An application from the Burris Roadhouse and Trading Company was rejected while attorneys for the two governing bodies were drafting the MOU. The Burris Roadhouse, which sits roughly fives miles northwest of Crowheart on U.S. Highway 26, had sought a license to sell malt beverages, such as beer.

Commissioners denied the application Aug. 6 after receiving word that the tribes had turned it down. In May, they had approved the license for the Burris Roadhouse contingent on approval by the Joint Business Council of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.

The document

Under the draft MOU, the Fremont County Commission would agree to notify the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes if the board receives a liquor license application for a business located south of the Wind River and within the exterior boundaries of the reservation.

Commissioners would further agree only to approve the license if the tribes approved it.

According to the MOU, if the two tribes receive a liquor license application for a location within the aforementioned area, they would notify the commissioners. The tribes also would have to tell the county board of any action they take.

The formal agreement is not finished. Commissioners sent the draft document to the Joint Business Council with other details to work out.

Thompson thought the tribes should not be responsible for notifying the county if they received a liquor license application for all locations within the reservation. They only should be responsible for informing commissioners for applications for locations south of the Wind River.

"We don't want to ask them to do any more than we're willing to do and vice versa," Thompson said.

The Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone business councils could not be reached for comment by press time.

Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.

Related Stories

Related Tags

County Weather

Photo Gallery

Twitter Feed (Follow Us!)

Contact Us  © 2017 Riverton Ranger, Inc.